Are you making this fatal hiring mistake?

These skills are becoming increasingly important, particularly in the retail industry

Are you making this fatal hiring mistake?

Many leaders are making the mistake of relying on snap hiring decisions within a few minutes of meeting somebody, according to the CEO of New Zealand-based Achievement Discoveries, Brian Noble.

Noble added that people pride themselves on being able to ‘tell right away if somebody is a fit’, but that’s just not accurate.

Speaking specifically about retail, Noble argued that if employers were able to make accurate judgements of people, there wouldn’t be such a high turnover of staff and failure rates.

“For example, people hire people who can’t sell, don’t like selling or they struggle to learn the point-of-sale technology, so they don’t last,” said Noble.

“The consequence is that retailers don’t want to invest in their staff, in terms of training and personal development, because they know staff will probably move on soon and in part they’re right – you can’t train sales people; they’re born, not made.”

Noble added that the ability to build rapport with customers and sell product comes down to natural gifts and talents which can only be enhanced with training.

“Many retailers struggle because they employ check-out people instead of sales people, which means they reduce their capability to up-sell, cross-sell and even just close the sale,” he said.

Indeed, there are three key aptitudes that are important when it comes to determining a person’s ability to be a good salesperson.

Work orientation
According to Noble, retail sales is about getting the customer to buy the product.

“When you have a ‘generalist’ leaning person, you have somebody who naturally wants to get results through other people,” said Noble.

“They have an innate desire to encourage, promote and get the prospect to reach a buying decision.

“At the opposite end of the spectrum, a person with a specialist orientation will try to push the individual into buying because they are totally focussed on just getting the sale, and that pushes customer away.”

High idea speed
Noble added that people with idea speed aptitude can quickly come up with multiple ways to sell the product or service.

“They’ll try to sell an item one way, and if that doesn’t work they’ll respond with another idea.”

Mid-range conclusion speed
People with mid-range conclusion speed naturally observe how the customer responds and behaves – what they respond positively towards and what they don’t, according to Noble.

Noble added that the cost of replacing staff has been measured at between 160 –180 per cent of a sales person’s annual salary.

Moreover, the mid-range conclusion speed person will endeavour to understand the customer and avoiding making snap judgements

“We are churning through sales people because we hire the wrong people and then train the wrong people on our products and services, hoping to make them better sales people,” said Noble.

“Because what they’re doing is not within their natural gifts, they don’t enjoy the work and are very likely to leave within a short space of time. It becomes very expensive.

Whereas when you hire a person with a mid-range conclusion speed you’ll find that they won’t make snap judgements, added Noble.

“They’re more likely to sell more product to more people, making them all-round profitable and productive – these are the people you should invest in to retain.”

Noble was speaking on the eve of the launch of a new online test called ‘Natural Gifts & More Pre-Recruitment’ which is designed to help businesses with high staff turnover better evaluate potential hires.


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